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The company name is a business’ most important form of advertising. It not only appears in all business documents and employee email signatures, but also ideally evolves into a recognizable brand. Not every name has this potential, however. For this reason, it’s important for the company itself to choose a suitable name. Don’t decide on the first impulse idea. Instead, you should consider which names are most suitable for your industry and target market.
When choosing a company name, however, legal regulations can also play a role. With some forms of business, there are legal requirements that you as a budding businessperson must absolutely take into consideration - or else things can get complicated.
- First Check the Legal Regulations, then Choose Your Company Name
- Checklist: How to Name Your Business
- 7 Tips for Your Company Name
- Secure Company Names
First Check the Legal Regulations, then Choose Your Company Name
Before you think about your business name in the founding phases, you’ll first need to decide on a specific legal form. This can have a particularly decisive influence on the name that a company chooses. Plus, there are industry-specific regulations that apply to the selection of company names.
Always be mindful that your company nameshould not mislead by falsely suggesting, for example, the wrong services or claiming expertise that you do not have. Every company is obligated to be truthful, reliable, and clear about its intentions. This means that the company’s purpose, management, and legal structure must be clearly discernable in the name.
As soon as you have a good idea for a company name, it’s advisable that you check with your state agency to see if your preferred business name is already registered. If the name is no longer available, this is because naming rights of already existing companies cannot be violated. Otherwise, in the worst-case scenario, this could lead to an injunction legal suit.
In order to choose the most ideal company name, it often helps to think about the planned distribution channels. If they include the internet, you should also be able to register your company name as a domain. Accordingly, your preferred domain must also still be available. This is extremely important, as your own domain is both the address at which your company website or online shop can be based in the future, as well as a credible basis for your company email address.
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Checklist: How to Name Your Business
- Company legal structure
- Check the legal name obligations
- Check industry-specific regulations
- Note the purpose, company management, and legal structure
- Factual specifications
- Composition (individual, functional and made-up names)
- Pronunciation and readability
- Orientation toward target market
- Brand potential
- Areas of business (potential expansion)
- International company name
- Business partners
- Gather feedback
- Check the company and trademark register
- Commercial register
- Trademark register
- Check for available internet addresses (domain check)
Do you want to start a company but don't know what to name it? Get inspiration from the free IONOS Business Name Generator and find ideas for your concept in just a few clicks.
7 Tips for Your Company Name
As soon as you’ve created an overview of your legal framework, you can proceed to the actual task at hand: Choosing a suitable, convincing name that emphasizes your company’s uniqueness and clearly distinguishes it from the competition.
Tip 1: Name Composition
Even when you choose a legal structure for which the separate name components are prescribed by law, the company name can always be extended by industry-specific designations or made-up names. Broadly speaking, there are three different versions:
- Individual names: The company is named according to its founder. For this, it is left to each person whether their full name or their last name is chosen.
- Specialty name: The company receives a name that indicates the field of work or industry. However, the name may not mislead by presenting services or qualifications that do not correspond with the truth.
- Made-up names: A fictional name is chosen.
However, it is not compulsory for you to choose only one of the three options. You can also choose a hybrid form, by combining your last name with a neologism or by expanding the fictional names with a name typical for your industry.
The pure use of name and industry is often boring and not very compelling for customers. Though a company name like that may meet the legal requirements, it’s best if it is also certain to attract attention.
Tip 2: Pronunciation and Readability
Make sure that the name of your company is as easy to read and pronounce as possible. Avoid long names that the mind does not register at a glance. Short words, such as those on billboards or on a company sign can be comprehended immediately, so it’s easier for potential customers to remember them. In case you have a long last name, perhaps double-barreled, that has to appear in the company name, you can emphasize a particular made-up word in your company denotation and print the name smaller behind it, so that customers only concentrate on the made-up name. An example for this would be “Blossom Lake – Plant NurseryMroszewski-Smith.”
Tip 3: Creatively Address the Market
Creativity is usually good for choosing a name. However, you should at the same time keep an eye on your target market. As a self-employed insurance consultant whose offering is primarily directed toward families, seriousness and professionalism should be priority, even if this results in rather uncreative company names. If on the other hand you want to offer international travel insurance and therefore primarily reach young people looking to travel the world after graduating, you can also choose a somewhat more unusual company name. In this case, you should not consider using from puns, for example, as these might not be suitable for the tone of your business.
Tip 4: Brand Potential
If you want to sell products that you wish to promote as a brand, you should also tailor the company name to them. Short, succinct words are especially appropriate for this. Think of brand names such as Nivea or Vaseline, that have even become synonyms for certain products.
Tip 5: Possible Expansion
If you opt for a name affix that indicates your specialty, consider beforehand if the name would still be appropriate after expanding your area of business. “Goodcut Men’s Tailor” could become problematic if you decide after a few years that you want to do women’s clothing as well. In this case, it would be more sensible to name your company “Goodcut Tailor.”
Tip 6: International Orientation
If you can picture your business idea being a success internationally as well, you should also take that into account when choosing the name of your company. Choose a name that is easy to pronounce in the most commonly spoken languages – fortunately, English is one such language.
When looking for a name that’s comprehensible internationally, you can also ask native speakers. This way, you can be sure that the name is easy to pronounce and does not suggest any negative associations.
Tip 7: Gather Feedback
Go through different options and get together with friends or future colleagues to brainstorm. The more versatile and creative the name is, the more probable that it’ll be effective. Narrow down your ideas and gather feedback from uninvolved participants whom you trust.
Secure Company Names
Even if your form of business is already adequate for business registration, a voluntary entry in the commercial register can be advantageous for the advertising impact of your new company name. Sometimes potential business partners will also to try see if your company can be found in the commercial register.
With the free domain checker at IONOS, you can easily find out if your preferred company name is still available as a domain and if you can secure it right away.